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‘Retailers are coming from all over!’ Catching up with Laura Freedman Dagg, Head of Retail, Global Licensing Group at Informa Markets

‘Retailers are coming from all over!’ Catching up with Laura Freedman Dagg, Head of Retail, Global Licensing Group at Informa Markets

Total Licensing caught up with Head of Retail at Informa, Laura Freedman Dagg, ahead of Licensing Expo in May to discuss the importance and the changing faces of retail.

I understand there will be an ever bigger focus on retail this year! Can you outline where some of the retailers are coming from globally?

The investment in retail experience at the show this year is massive. Retailers are coming from all over! Most from US & Canada but good representation from Australia, Brazil, Mexico & UK. European representation from Spain, France, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Sweden. Asian rep from China, Korea and Japan. 40 countries represented overall. We’re delighted to welcome back buyers from all around Europe and Asia  now fully returning to normal travel. We’re also so excited to see how many teams are attending from across the US and LATAM. Major retailers who traditionally attend in smaller numbers are increasing attendance sizes significantly and repeat attendance with a more consistent cadence is also growing. It just goes to show how strategically important brand partnerships are to these businesses.  But the brands that are known to attend Licensing Expo are such incredible leaders that it’s not hard to convince retailers why they need to be here.  We highlight the potential of licensing across multichannel communications to a massive global retail audience and the idea, business value, and community impact of licensing resonates, therefore the show is quickly evolving to become a must attend for the retailers that want to play in this space.

Even though most retailers are now omni-channel, do you have a mix of digital and bricks and mortar?

Yes absolutely. Online-only retailers will be at the show in a big way and often buyers attend with their digital colleagues or with a view to buying for both online and in-store. We certainly have a good mix of retail types. Online retailers offer additional opportunities for our exhibitors – they are nimble, they own their communities, and they can tap into trends very quickly. What makes the show work successfully is really the diversity of its audience on all sides. The retail audiences that attend echoes the diversity we see across all our audience groups.

And are there any new retailers attending this year? Or new ‘types’ of retailers?

I’ve noticed a lot of specialty retailers registering. From cufflinks to skateboards, jewellery to candles, even eyewear to coffee, there is no limit to the creativity that licensing can touch. It’s testament to the fact that licensing translates into literally every product category and that more and more retailers are waking up to the opportunities beyond what we traditionally may imagine. Baby products and anime themes are a big trend this year. Major retailer brands include the likes of ALDO, Pandora, Crocs, Gap and Puma to name a few. We prioritize operating in a dynamic way so that the conversations happening all throughout the show never feel like a simple buyer/seller relationship. We’re increasingly seeing retail brands assess collaborations in a range of different ways.

How is Licensing Expo facilitating it so that more people can have the meetings with retailers that they want? 

We offer plenty of support for retail attendees. They are firmly in the driving seat when it comes to choices regarding who they will meet.

We support and empower the retailers to drive the conversations for the connections they’re excited to uncover. We also intentionally curate an overview of what the show offers – the sheer volume and diversity of IP on the expo floor can sometimes be overwhelming for a retailer who’s new to the licensing industry. We strive to be their partner and guide throughout the process. It’s not rare for retailers to directly ask for introductions to the exhibitors they’re most excited about meeting and we ensure we are providing the additional recommendations to fit those needs.

We also reserve exclusive meeting spaces in the Retail Lounge and offer incremental concierge within our new digital Meetings Platform to provide the most value possible from end-to-end in their experience.

The meetings platform this year is expertly enhanced to also allow attendees to browse potential partners much more easily. I cannot emphasize enough how important is it for exhibiting companies to put their best foot forward with listings and tailored, focused outreach before the show. I can guarantee the Retailers are browsing the list as a first step in their planning, before they even come to the show, to set up meetings and they frequently go back to it again and again as they refine their objectives.  

Last year alone, there were a quarter of a million searches on the Meetings Platform and nearly 7,000 meetings booked through the app. That shows the power of planning ahead for purposeful interaction that brands can have with retailers specifically.

About The Author

Rebecca Ash

Rebecca is the Editorial Director at Total Licensing Ltd. She can be reached at

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